Football Injuries

Football injuries are explained, diagnosed and treated by Dr. Kevin Mangum DO in Salt Lake City Utah who is a sports Medicine physician

What types of injury are common in football?

Knee injuries, ankle sprains and concussions are the three most common conditions that occur in football.  Other common conditions that occur in football are tendon injuries, muscle injuries, heat related illnesses, shoulder dislocations, acromioclavicular (AC) sprains, wrist injuries, hand injuries, hip pointers, stingers and burners.  Dr. Kevin Mangum has done extensive medical training to diagnose and manage these conditions.

What causes the most injuries in football?

Player to player contact is the most common cause of injuries in football. This is true in games as well as in football practices.  American football is a full contact sport and has the highest rate of collegiate injury than any other sport.

What are the three most common injuries in football?

The three most common football injuries are knee injuries, ankle ligament sprains and concussions.  Knee injuries are common in football and can include ligament tears and cartilage damage.  Ankle ligament sprains can include mild tears of ligaments or complete tears of ligaments.  Concussions are common in football and can range from mild to severe.  Dr. Kevin Mangum is a board-certified sports medicine physician who manages the three most common football injuries.

What are the five most common injuries suffered in football?

The five most common injuries that occur in football are knee injuries, ankle ligament sprains, concussions, muscle and tendon injuries and heat related illness.  These injuries are commonly treated by sports medicine physicians and orthopedic surgeons.  Common football injuries are diagnosed and treated differently depending on the injury.  Common football injuries can affect return to play decisions and football performance.

What football player position gets injured the most?

Player position in football plays an important part in the likelihood of getting hurt and injured.  The running back is the most likely player to be injured in football. Who is followed by the quarterback, linebacker, wide receiver, defensive back, defensive lineman and offensive lineman.

What are hip pointers?

A hip pointer is a painful bruise that happens as a result of direct trauma, often from getting hit, over the hip bone (the iliac crest).

What are the symptoms of a hip pointer?

The most common symptom of a hip pointer is pain and bruising around the top of the hip bone.  Sometimes patients can irritate the nerve that crosses in the area and can get numbness and tingling into the outside of the thigh.

What is the treatment for hip pointers?

The treatment for hip pointers are often taking some time off, using over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (ibuprofen, naproxen), and doing physical therapy focusing on stretching the muscles and strengthening the muscles around the iliac crest.  Some patients benefit from corticosteroid injections around the area.  One of the most important things is to padding and protecting the area when returning to play football.

How long does it take to recover from a hip pointer?

It usually takes a few days to feel improvement with a hip pointer.  However, hip pointer pain and discoloration can take several weeks to fully recover.

How painful is a hip pointer?

Some hip pointers can be mild in nature depending on how hard the impact was.  Other hip pointers can be extremely painful and take longer to heal.

How do you relieve hip pointer pain?

Over-the-counter oral and topical pain medication can help relieve hip pointer pain.  Ice can also be very helpful in relieving hip pointer pain.  A good hip rehab program can also be beneficial in helping relieve hip pointer pain.

How are stingers and burners in football treated?

Stingers and burners usually go away on their own.  If the numbness, tingling or weakness in the shoulders or arm persists, it is best to be evaluated by a sports medicine physician to see if you need additional testing and clear you for return to play.

Can you play football with a stinger or burner?

If you develop a stinger or burner while playing football, your athletic trainer or physician may clear you to return to play if you usually have complete resolution of symptoms and have normal strength and motion of your shoulder and arm.

How do you know if a football ankle injury is serious?

Ankle injuries in football are serious when a player is unable to walk on the ankle, there is a bony abnormality when looking at the ankle, the bones in the ankle are tender to the touch, numbness and tingling develop in the foot, significant color changes occur in the skin or pain that is intense.  It is best to seek medical attention by a trained physician if this happens to you.  Sports medicine physicians and orthopedic surgeons are experts at treating ankle injuries that occur in football.

How can an ankle sprain occur in football?

There are several type of ankle sprains that occur in football.  The most common type of ankle sprain is an inversion ankle sprain.  This occurs with the foot pointed downwards and the foot is rolled in.  This mechanism commonly injures the anterior talofibular ligament.  With progressive force in the same direction, you can also injure the calcaneofibular ligament and the posterior talofibular ligament. The bifurcate ligament can also be injured with inversion ankle sprains.

The more serious type of ankle sprain that occurs in football is a high ankle sprain.  This happens when the ankle is pointed up and rolled outwards with a twisting motion of the foot.  You can injure the ligament on the inside of your ankle called the deltoid ligament. You can also injure the ligaments that stabilize the ankle between the tibia and fibula.  There can also be fractures of the bones in your ankle with this twisting motion.

How do footballers recover from ankle sprains?

Football players recover from ankle sprains mainly by rest, bracing, and rehabilitation.  Some ankle sprains can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, early range of motion and functional rehabilitation.  Many ankle sprains require help from a physical therapist to significantly improve function.  Other ankle sprains can require surgery to stabilize the ankle, fix broken bones and repair torn ligaments.  Mild ankle sprains require rest and may benefit from being placed in an ankle lace up brace.

How do you treat an ankle injury in football?

Football ankle injuries are treated both conservatively with rest, bracing, anti-inflammatory medications, ice and elevation.  Other football ankle sprains that are more severe may require bracing for longer periods of time.  The most severe ankle injuries in football may require surgery.  It is best to be evaluated for optimal function and early return to play by a sports medicine physician.

What is the most common knee injury in football?

The most common knee injury in football are ligament injuries.  There are multiple ligaments in your knee that are designed to stabilize the knee.  These ligaments include the medial collateral ligament, the anterior cruciate ligament, the lateral collateral ligament and the posterior cruciate ligament.  Cartilage injuries can also happen in football and are common.  Cartilage on the end of the bones or the meniscal cartilage that sits between the bones in your knee can be damaged.  Some ligament injuries need surgical repair while other ligament injuries respond better to conservative therapy including bracing and rehabilitation.

Why do football players have bad knees?

Football players can have bad knees due to recurrent injuries to the knee joint.  If the knees become unstable due to repetitive ligament damage this can increase the risk of developing knee problems in the future.

Is football bad for your knees?

All sports have risks associated with their participation.  Football knee injuries are common; however, it is important to maintain adequate leg strength to protect the knee. Exercising and working out to strengthen the muscles that cross the knee joint is crucial to help stabilize the knee. Having adequate muscle strength in the leg will help reduce the risk of knee injury.

What is a stinger and burner in football?

A stinger or a burner is a momentary numbness, tingling or weakness that happens in the arms and shoulders of football players.  There are nerves in your neck called the brachial plexus.  A stinger or burner is caused from either a direct blow, compression or a stretch to these nerves.  This can also be called dead arm syndrome.

What are the symptoms of a stinger or burner in football?

The most common symptom of a stinger or burner is tingling in the arm.  The tingling can also happen in the shoulder. When stingers and burners are severe they can cause weakness into the affected arm.

How long do stingers and burners last in football?

Stingers and burners are usually transient in nature.  This means that they resolve quickly in about 1 to 2 minutes.  They can last longer if the damage to the nerve was more severe.

If you are suffering from a football injury, please schedule an appointment with Kevin Mangum, D.O. the primary care sports medicine provider in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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References:

  1. Kluczynski, Melissa A., et al. “A systematic review of the orthopaedic literature involving National Football League players.” Orthopaedic journal of sports medicine 7.8 (2019): 2325967119864356.
  2. Mulcahey, Mary K., et al. “The epidemiology of ankle injuries identified at the National football League combine, 2009-2015.” Orthopaedic journal of sports medicine 6.7 (2018): 2325967118786227.
  3. Lievers, W. Brent, and Peter F. Adamic. “Incidence and severity of foot and ankle injuries in men’s collegiate American football.” Orthopaedic journal of sports medicine 3.5 (2015): 2325967115581593.
  4. Dodson, Christopher C., et al. “Anterior cruciate ligament injuries in National Football League athletes from 2010 to 2013: a descriptive epidemiology study.” Orthopaedic journal of sports medicine 4.3 (2016): 2325967116631949.